Media Circus

Had enough of Cabot Circus yet (or Carboot Circus as it’s apparently now known)? Us too (See everywhere passim ad nauseum). Unfortunately we’ve restricted our own agenda somewhat at Evening Post Watch. We are kind of guided by the agenda at the Post, and their agenda is most definitely Cabot Circus.


So, you would think that after literally years of recycling the same old corporate PR puff about the coming of this glorious New Jerusalem, the Post would relish the chance to report an actual, real, near-tragic news story about the shopping centre they have been promoting and advertising continuously for months on end. Oh, hang on . . .

On Friday, the day after we were treated to the “WOW!” front page and eleven more pages about Cabot blah blah blah . . . a seven month old baby was rushed to hospital after a window fell out of the new Harvey Nichols building and landed on the baby’s pushchair injuring him and his mother. They are now both OK.

The Post reported the story on page five of Saturday’s edition. Well, it’s hardly front page news, is it? But, was that WOW! story front page news? Or the aliens? Or the ghosts? To be honest, we really don’t have a fucking clue how the Post decides on “news worthiness”. News values? Yeah, right.

Reading the story though, we were struck with a feeling of déjà vu. Surely we have read somewhere before about falling windows at this development. But there was no mention of it in the story. Surely, if this had happened before, that’s a pattern, right? The Post would mention it, even if only to tell us they had investigated and ruled out a connection, right?

So, where had we read about falling windows before? Oh yeah, the Evening Post.

Here, from April 18 2008, a story headlined, “I am so lucky to be alive – josie”.

A Bristol office worker says she is lucky to be alive after a 15ft pane of glass fell from the Cabot Circus tower block and crashed to the ground only metres away from her.
Josie Cooke was walking to work in the city centre when a window pane “the size of a bus stop” fell from the 14-storey apartment block in the new Cabot Circus development . . .
Ms Cooke, 49, from Knowle, said there is no doubt she would have been killed if the window had landed on her. The incident is being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive . . .
She said: “I was so lucky. I got off the bus by NatWest and walked to the site entrance. The workmen asked me to stop so the fork lift truck could reverse, and the window just came down in front of me.
“If I hadn’t stopped it would have fallen on top of me. I would say it was about 15ft by 5ft, the size of a bus stop. It was my lucky day. It would have killed me.”
The 14-storey tower, one of the tallest buildings in Bristol, has been built over what will be a three-storey Harvey Nichols store . . .

And then on May 2 2008; “Cabot circus tower task is such a pane”.

“Dozens of window panes have been removed from Cabot Circus ‘ landmark tower as work continues to replace hundreds of panels of metal cladding on the building.
Two weeks ago, it was revealed that workmen on the luxury apartment block were removing the silver-coloured aluminium and zinc cladding after it was discovered the fixings were not up to scratch.
It then emerged that a 15ft pane of glass had fallen from the building a month before, narrowly missing an office worker walking past – an incident which is under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.
Now the windows on the building have also been taken out as the tower is stripped back to its inner concrete structure.
The 14-storey tower, one of the tallest buildings in Bristol, has been built over what will be a three-storey Harvey Nichols store . . .”

Perhaps we are being unfair and the Post have investigated and ruled out any possible connection between sub-standard fittings, windows being removed  and replaced, rushed completion and falling panes of glass. But if so, why not tell us? Or perhaps we are just being too cynical.


UPDATE 1: The Telegraph made this comment in its report of the incident,

“Although Cabot Circus staged its grand opening on Thursday only 100 of its projected 140 stores were completed in time.

It has been suggested the incident may have happened as a result of builders rushing work in order to finish on schedule.”


UPDATE 2: Just stumbled upon this interesting comment on a construction/architecture forum discussion about Carboot Circus from June:

“Just something you might want to be aware of, in Derby we recently had a major shopping centre development (Westfield Derby) open ala Cabot Circus and with a short time to go it didn’t look like it was going to be finished in time. Westfield then got contractors working 24/7 for around 3-4 months and got it finished in time…..however this meant that things were rushed and consequently most of the flooring has had to be replaced just 8 months after it opened and there have been various other problems with painting not being finished and glass roof panels falling into the shopping centre!!. I just hope that the same thing doesn’t happen at Cabot Circus as judging by those photos there’s a hell of a lot of work left to do in a relatively short space of time. “

(That’s enough Carboot Circus – Ed)

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